Here are some tips to ensure you pick the right proofreader for your project. I’m going to start with the most contentious subject pricing.
If the price appears too good to be true: it is. Don’t trust it. Newcomers or those without qualifications tend to underbid everyone so they can gain publishing credits. Sure, it’s a low price but at what cost? I’d also be wary of thesis and journal article websites that promise a second reading of your text… why isn’t the job not done correctly the first time?
So beware of too-low pricing and too-fast a turnaround. A thesis of 80,000 in 24 hours. I don’t think so. This practice sounds dishonest. Got a book nearby? Open it, imaging reading every sentence once for clarity, another for grammar and spelling errors, including every word and punctuation mark. Thus a book can easily take a month to proofread. It is not realistic to expect 80,000 words to be proofread within a week, or two so if a proofreader offers such a bargain at a low price, find another one. Clearly spell- and grammar-checking software is being used instead of a real person reading through your text a line at a time.
I am fortunate that I have worked with many lovely people who appreciate that reviews make the difference between someone hiring me or not. What my client’s say speaks, forgive the cliché, volumes. If they are providing a quality service the reviews will tell you. If you can’t find any reviews, or lots of anonymous ones, be careful.
A Writing sample
Quite often when asked for a quote, unless I am very pressed I try to send a few sentences as a writing sample so a potential client knows what to expect with me. If unsure who to pick send a sample to your potential top pick. This should give an indication of what level of trust you can place in them. However please do not do this to many of us to compare, because this is an investment of our time for you.
Get it in writing
Usually I provide a quotation with what is included to keep myself and the client on track about what to expect. We arrange dates and deadlines. Everything in writing. Some proofreaders also offer a service contract or to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
This agreement should outline the scope of services, as well as costs and deadline. That is a fair indication that you are dealing with a trustworthy proofreader.
Avoid websites offering anonymous edits
On many online proofreading services you submit an “order” and upload your document. Then a proofreader is assigned to you.
Working with me, you can see exactly who I am! And work directly with me. I do not pay others to do proofreading, I only take on work that I can do myself. Not always the case for a large company, so how can you be sure about what qualifications their proofreaders have?
So, at the end of the day to ensure a professional service: is the price and timescale realistic? What do their reviews say? Do they provide a contract and a writing sample so you both know what to expect? And who is doing the proofreading?
Keeping these things in mind, I hope you’ll find a great proofreader that you can trust.
To work with me, my details are below.
Who is Emma?
Emma is a proofreader with 18 years of writing experience with businesses, academics and creative writers. She obtained a Creative Writing MA (St Andrews University) and a PhD in Storytelling (Warwick University). Then set up her own proofreading business and became a published author of fiction as well as academic literature such as Young People, Learning & Storytelling (Palgrave Macmillan).